Appel d'offre

Consultant – The Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem

Prioritization of the transboundary problems, analysis of impacts and causes

1. Context and objectives

The GEF MedProgramme

The Mediterranean Sea Programme (MedProgramme), Enhancing Environmental Security (GEF ID 9607), is a Global Environment Facility (GEF) regional Multi Focal Area Programmatic Approach. UNEP/Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) is the leading executing Agency. The MedProgramme aims to accelerate the implementation of agreed-upon priority actions to reduce the major transboundary environmental stresses affecting the Mediterranean Sea and its coastal areas while strengthening climate resilience and water security and improving the health and livelihoods of coastal populations. It will be developed through four Components and eight Child Projects.
This programme is based on an ambitious and overarching vision for change of: « A healthy Mediterranean with marine and coastal ecosystems that are productive and biologically diverse contributing to sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations ». The MedProgramme aims to accelerate the implementation of agreed-upon priority actions to reduce the major transboundary environmental stresses affecting the Mediterranean Sea and its coastal areas and associated ecosystem services while strengthening climate resilience and water security and improving the health and livelihoods of coastal populations.

Its Global Environmental Objectives are:
● To restore the integrity of a globally significant transboundary large marine ecosystem and its coastal areas through multi-Country cooperative actions;
● To prevent the exposure of humans and the environment to harmful chemicals and waste of global importance;
● To maintain globally significant biodiversity and the ecosystem goods and services that it provides to society;
● To increase resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change in vulnerable developing Countries.
To that end, the MedProgramme will target coastal nutrient pollution hotspots, harmful chemical and wastes, critical coastal habitats and freshwater resources, climate resilience, marine protected areas, and monitoring of progress to impacts. In doing so, the MedProgramme will produce a series of interconnected outcomes to achieve multiple benefits at the national, regional and global levels, providing at the same time a collective response to regional and global soft and binding international environmental agreements.

The Med 2050 Programme

Plan Bleu is specialized in Outlook/Foresight Studies and has been mandated by the parties of the Barcelona Conference to carry out a new foresight programme on the future of the environment and development of the Mediterranean. This programme called « MED 2050 » is aiming at identifying possible visions of the future of the Mediterranean by 2050 and building solid and realistic transition paths towards a sustainable and inclusive future through a participative process. Scientists, decision-makers and stakeholders will be involved in the implementation of this program and a number of activities are planned as part of this programme to facilitate the exchanges of views regarding the future of the Mediterranean region.

The implementation of the core MED 2050 programme will consist of 4 steps:
● Phase 1: Building up the information and analysis baseline (2020–2021)
● Phase 2: Drawing up, sharing and comparing contrasting visions for the future across the Mediterranean at the sub regional level: East South and North (2021)
● Phase 3: Reconciling trends, disruptions and weak signals, and contrasting visions to draw up realistic scenarios (2022)
● Phase 4: Co-creating transition pathways and strategies in the short, medium and long term (2022–2023)

In addition to the core MED 2050 programme, it is proposed to develop complementary projects (so called « Focus ») on more specific issues (on either thematic, geographical, for groups of stakeholders or cross-cutting problems) to nurture the development of the MED core programme, depending on funding resources made available by partners of the programme wishing to provide their support and to benefit in return from MED 2050 dynamics for their own priority areas of intervention. The present project will be one Focus project of the MED 2050 programme.

Synergies and complementarity between Med 2050 Programme and GEF MedProgramme
The MED 2050 will synergize and contribute to the GEF MedProgramme outputs and outcomes through Child Project 1.1 under Output 2.1: « Updated Transboundary Diagnostic Assessment (TDA) including gender assessment », and the following activities:
– Identification and prioritization of transboundary issues, determination of impacts, causal chain analysis.
– Carrying out thematic assessments, preparation of thematic reports and their review and analysis.
– Synthesizing analytical work, TDA drafting and identification of linkages with the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) process.

The paradigm shift

The integrated, holistic and ecosystem-based approach on the functioning of the Mediterranean Sea, seen as a Mega-Ecosystem, or Large Marine Ecosystem (LMEs) in GEF terminology1is of interest for both MedProgramme and MED 2050 programme, which wish to nurture the debate on the state, current challenges and future trends facing the Mediterranean, and their consequences in terms of risks, threats but also opportunities for the region as well as the political decisions that can be drawn from it.

The Mediterranean Sea can be seen as a small ocean that constitutes a single mega-ecosystem2, most frequently analysed and managed through its different parts or components which provide only a partial vision of the complexity of this sea.

The structure, regulation and function of the Mediterranean Sea are rapidly changing. Climate change is a key driver of change, beside coastal nutrient pollution, harmful chemical and wastes discharge, the destruction of natural habitats and biodiversity, the introduction of invasive species, overfishing, the pressures on freshwater resources, etc. that heavily influenced ecosystem functioning. The Mediterranean Sea responses are dramatic, such as the Eastern Mediterranean Transient changed the circulation patterns of the Eastern Mediterranean basin. Models did not predict these changes. Science, so far, focused much on the constraints that lead to regular sequences of events, allowing for predictions. In periods of rapid change, though, the historical nature of ecology becomes prominent, and contingencies acquire an overwhelming importance. This calls for new approaches to the study of complex mega-systems, such as the Mediterranean Sea. The identification of cells of ecosystem functioning, based on oceanographic processes that enhance production at different levels of marine food webs in specific areas, is a challenge for policy makers and the population that will eventually lead to better management and protection of the marine natural heritage. Even if historical systems do not allow for predictions, some trends are clear and a set of possible scenarios of what will happen in the future Mediterranean Sea can be proposed.

The Mediterranean, just like the oceans of the world, is affected by a number of threats. We must admit that future telling is not in our powers, but we have sufficient knowledge and insight on the state of the environment to show that our way of living is not compatible with the well-being of ecosystems, and that our well-being depends on the well-being of ecosystems. The trend towards unsustainability is clear, and must be inverted with proper policies, based on a more rational use of natural resources and clean energy production. The Mediterranean is like a miniaturized oceans showing rather dramatically the results of our direct and indirect pressures on ecosystems, calling for novel ways to tackle the complex problems regarding our impacts on the interaction between the physical and the biological domains in marine environments.

Many of the issues facing the Mediterranean Sea are transboundary in nature and can only be addressed in a sustainable and equitable manner through consideration of transboundary factors.

The present study will be part of an update of the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA)3 of the Mediterranean Sea which is due to be undertaken in the framework of Child Project 1.1 under the GEF MedProgramme. The overarching objectives of a TDA is to identify, quantify, and set priorities for environmental problems that are transboundary in nature.

2. Tasks description

This project is being developed by Plan Bleu, the Regional Activity Centre of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), established as an association under the French Law of 1901 in Marseilles with an office in Marseilles (https://planbleu.org/en/). MAP is one of the main components of the Regional Seas Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is endowed with a legal instrument: the Barcelona Convention and relies on six regional activity centres (the « RACs ») responsible in particular for promoting the implementation of the various protocols attached to the Convention. Plan Bleu is one of these centres mandated by the twenty-one countries Parties to the Barcelona Convention and the European Union (Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention). Plan Bleu acts as an observatory for the environment and sustainable development in the Mediterranean, and conducts thematic, systemic and foresight analyses likely to enlighten the region’s stakeholders and decision-makers on environmental risks and sustainable development issues.
Plan Bleu will hire a consultant to carry out a study aiming at laying out the foundations of an analysis and assessment of the long-term global regulation problems facing the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem, covering prioritization of the transboundary problems, analysis of impacts and causes.

The study will be undertaken by identifying and prioritizing the long-term global regulation problems facing the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem; gathering and interpreting information on the environmental impacts and socio-economic consequences; and analyzing the immediate, underlying, and root causes for each problem.

In full accordance with the GEF TDA methodology4, the assessment will identify, quantify, and set priorities for environmental transboundary issues that are affecting the long-term global regulations of the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem. More specifically it will:
● Identify and prioritise environmental transboundary issues such as circulation patterns of water bodies, climate change impacts on the marine and coastal zone and interactions with physical and biological domains in the marine environment.
● Gather and interpret information on the environmental impacts and socio-economic consequences of each issue.
● Analyse the immediate, underlying, and root causes for each issue, and in particular identify specific practices, sources, locations, and human activity sectors from which environmental degradation arises or threatens to arise.

The results of this study will feed the updated TDA which will in turn provide a factual basis for expected follow-up activities towards formulation of the next Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the Mediterranean that will (through strategic planning and negotiations) set priorities for the time horizon beyond 2025 to resolve the priority transboundary problems identified in the TDA.

3. Consultants Qualifications

– Master’s degree in fields relevant to the subject of the consultancy: sustainable development, environmental management, environmental sciences, international development, international affairs, political science, economics, social science, planning, or other relevant fields.

Work experience:
– A minimum of 7 years of relevant experience in the field of environment, climate change, biodiversity, marine and coastal resources management, sustainable development, nature-based solutions or related areas is required.
– Minimum 7 years of relevant experience in defining, conducting and evaluating sustainable development policies and its different components (resilience, environment, food security, governance, economic development, social equity…).
– At least 7 years of experience at international level is required.
– An experience of TDA/SAP processes is desirable.

– A very good knowledge of environmental and sustainable development issues, particularly in the context of the Mediterranean region.
– Excellent knowledge of information systems and actors of sustainable development, natural resources management, climate change and environment in the Mediterranean.
– Solid experience in research and processing of quantitative data and qualitative information, knowledge.
– Excellent writing, analytical and synthesis skills.
– A very good command of English, both written and spoken. Working knowledge of French and/or Arabic language is desirable.
– Ability to respond to the programme’s implementation objectives within a sometimes short timeframe.


Procedure to respond to this call for tenders

Plan Bleu invites consultancy firms or individual consultants interested in this consultation to indicate their motivation by sending a response to this call for tender including: a letter of expression of interest, the CV of the expert(s), as well as a detailed financial and technical offer in response to these terms of reference.
Applications should be submitted no later than 2 November 2021 on www.planbleu.org and by e-mail to ltode@planbleu.org and sdulbecco@planbleu.org

For more information, please contact:
Lina Tode
Deputy Director, Plan Bleu
E-mail : ltode@planbleu.org

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